The lead up to Top Cow's massive crossover event Artifacts, has been a long one (there have been mentions of this five years in the making) and has kept many fans on the edge of their seats, biding their time to leap head-first into the series. The six issue lead in mini-series (Angelus) has now finished and without disappointment.
The issue starts with a recap of what happened in the previous issue, showing that Sabine had used the power of The Wheel of Shadows to transform Baptiste's partner Finch, into an elderly lady, which spurred the final confrontation between the two. The story revolves much around the traitorous Angelus warrior Sabine, using the power of the Artifact (The Wheel of Shadows) to attempt to defeat Danielle Baptiste, in hopes to become the new host of the Angelus. This issue also reveals the power of The Wheel of Shadows, giving a sense of tension of the revealing yet another one of the twelve Artifacts.
The series is written by Ron Marz (best known for his work on Green Lantern and Witchblade) and reading this final issue, it is obvious that Marz knew exactly where he wanted to go and how to deliver this story. As in previous issues of Angelus (as well as his run on Witchblade) Marz was able to meld character development and action into one being, delivering an action driven story fuelled by emotion. One factor to point out however is at times the dialogue feels slightly lacking in its execution, but for the most part is well done.
Marz gives a recap at the beginning, reminding all readers (if they have forgotten what happened the previous month, I know I sometimes struggle) what has happened, which does well in giving a sense of continuity as well as helping readers who may have only jumped on to see what is happening in the Top Cow Universe. At the end, Marz also gives a detailed description about The Wheel of Shadows that answers a few questions readers may find themselves asking.
Stjepan Sejic did the artwork for the Angelus series. Admittedly, I was not always a fan of his artwork, but after seeing more of it his style and talent have really stood out amongst other artists. His painting-like artwork with a slight metallic feel makes each panel its own piece of art (much like his current run on Witchblade). Sejic brings Marz's fight scenes to beautiful, fluid life, leaving readers wanting to take in each page before they move onto the next.
Wrapping up this issue, to any fan who has been collecting the series will love how it ended. To any fan collecting Artifacts, but have not yet collected this series I recommend getting your hands on it. The partnership between Ron Marz and Stjepan Sejic is one that I hope will continue for quite some time as it is near to perfection.